UN pushes for vaccine as world toll crosses 200,000 - GulfToday

UN pushes for vaccine as world toll crosses 200,000


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

More than 200,000 confirmed deaths worldwide from coronavirus on Saturday as the United Nations launched an international push for a vaccine to defeat the pandemic.

The UN push for a quick vaccine came a day after US President Donald Trump prompted outcry and ridicule with his suggestion that disinfectants be used to treat coronavirus patients.

Governments around the world are struggling to limit the economic devastation unleashed by the virus, which has infected nearly 2.8 million people and left half of humanity under some form of lockdown.

The scale of the coronavirus pandemic has forced medical research on the virus to move at unprecedented speed, but effective treatments are still far off and the United Nations chief said the effort will require cooperation on a global scale.

The warning suggests that the issuance of "immune passports" may promote the continued spread of the pandemic.

"We face a global public enemy like no other," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a virtual briefing on Friday, asking for international organisations, world leaders and the private sector to join the effort. "A world free of COVID-19 requires the most massive public health effort in history."

Any vaccine should be safe, affordable and available to all, Guterres said at the meeting, which was also attended by the leaders of Germany and France. But notably absent were the leaders of China, where the virus first emerged late last year, and the United States, which has accused the UN's World Health Organisation of not warning quickly enough about the original outbreak.

Across the Muslim world, hundreds of millions of faithful also opened the Ramadan under stay-at-home conditions, facing unprecedented bans on prayers in mosques and on the traditional large gatherings of families and friends to break the daily fast.

The United States is the hardest-hit country by far in the pandemic, recording more than 51,500 deaths and over 890,000 detected infections.
Britain's COVID-19 death toll passed 20,000 on Saturday in what the interior minister called "a tragic and terrible milestone" as she urged people to stay at home.

Elsewhere in Asia, authorities reported no new deaths on Saturday for the 10th straight day in China, where the virus originated.

And South Korea reported just 10 fresh cases, the eighth day in a row its daily jump came below 20. There were no new deaths for the second straight day.

A tentative easing around the world of coronavirus lockdowns gathered pace Saturday with the reopening in India of neighbourhood stores that many of the country's 1.3 billion people rely on for everything from cold drinks to mobile phone data cards.

On Sunday, Spain is to start allowing children out for up to an hour a day in the first steps towards easing one of the world's toughest lockdowns.
The measure, which comes into effect on Sunday morning, means under-14s will be able to go out once a day for one hour between 9:00am and 9:00pm.


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